SLASHING INPUTS. Having switched to no-till in 1999, Kelly (left) and DeAnna (right) Lozensky of South Prairie, N.D., began reducing inputs in 2014 and eliminated synthetic fertilizers in 2019. They switched to crops that required less fertilizer to help make the new system work. 

No More ‘More-On’ Farming

Synthetics are out on this North Dakota farm. Stimulating the soil biome to produce hundreds of thousands of dollars of inputs is in.

Efficiency drove our shift to no-till in 1999. The practice meant less fuel, fewer tractor passes and reduced man hours. For all other aspects of our operation, though, it was more, more, more

Sourcing information from organizations aiming to sell farmers products influenced us to spend 14 years intensively managing our crops. Another meeting, another steak dinner and we would walk away thinking we needed yet another product or application to push yields ever higher.

Everything we did required more — more fertilizer, more seed treatments, more fungicide, more spray passes and time in the field, more money, more, more, more. It never quit. We called it “More-On” farming, and it was running us and our farm right into the ground.

Now we let our soils and crops tell us what we need. It turns out it’s less of nearly everything — including yields. We used to think big yields equaled good farming. We don’t think that way anymore. 

As of 2019, we quit applying all fertilizers, including nitrogen (N). High-input crops were evaluated and several, including corn and sunflowers, were culled from the rotation. There was potential for high reward with those crops, but there was a certainty of high risk, especially in our region.

Check The Specs...

NAME: Kelly and DeAnna Lozensky

LOCATION: South Prairie, N.D.

ACRES: 2,500


CROPS: Winter wheat, spring wheat, barley, oats, yellow peas, mustard, flax, malting barley, Egyptian hulless barley, Rouge de Bordeaux, Einkorn and spelt

ANNUAL PRECIPITATION: Extremely variable

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Martha mintz new

Martha Mintz

Since 2011, Martha has authored the highly popular “What I’ve Learned About No-Till” series that has appeared in every issue of No-Till Farmer since August of 2002.

Growing up on a cattle ranch in southeastern Montana, Martha is a talented ag writer and photographer who lives with her family in Billings, Montana.

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